Hope Rising Virtual Event 2020

For the past eight years, SOHO has hosted a GAME CHANGERS Forum bringing together leaders from two continents to discuss how to put an end to the international pandemic of gender-based violence against women and girls affecting one third the global female population. On the heels of the UN inspired 16 Days of Activism, some of our Game Changers and Trail Blazers who were honored by SOHO at our annual Gala will participate in a discussion on how each of us can fuel the hope that is rising in the lives of those affected.

SAVE THE DATE!

Tuesday, December 15
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PANEL MODERATOR

Christina Hale – former Indiana State Representative and Human Trafficking Advocate

Christina is well known throughout Indiana as a dedicated public servant. She served for four years as state representative from Indianapolis and was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2016. A major accomplishment during her public service was her drive for legislative action to curb human trafficking. Christina spent eight years with Kiwanis International, serving as director of executive and board services, lead area director for Europe and Asia Pacific, and chief communications officer. She also served as President and CEO of Leadership Indianapolis.

A Purdue University graduate, Christina began her career as a newspaper reporter in Northern Indiana, then worked in state government for the Indiana Department of Commerce and the governor’s office. She is a well-known advocate for prevention of abuse of women and girls and an articulate speaker on these social issues.

Christina Hale – former Indiana State Representative and Human Trafficking Advocate

Christina is well known throughout Indiana as a dedicated public servant. She served for four years as state representative from Indianapolis and was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2016. A major accomplishment during her public service was her drive for legislative action to curb human trafficking. Christina spent eight years with Kiwanis International, serving as director of executive and board services, lead area director for Europe and Asia Pacific, and chief communications officer. She also served as President and CEO of Leadership Indianapolis.

A Purdue University graduate, Christina began her career as a newspaper reporter in Northern Indiana, then worked in state government for the Indiana Department of Commerce and the governor’s office. She is a well-known advocate for prevention of abuse of women and girls and an articulate speaker on these social issues.

VIP PANEL

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Princess of Africa and UN Ambassador

Yvonne is an internationally recognized South African singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher. Dubbed the “Princess of Africa” because of the continent wide impact of her music, she is also a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria and the United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa. She was chosen by Nelson Mandela as the first ambassador for his children’s fund, and has also established her own charity, The Princess of Africa Foundation, using the name first given to her in Uganda. The Princess of Africa Foundation is a partner of the ACTION global health advocacy partnership. In 2012, she was the first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award. Yvonne is a strong advocate for education of women and girls, and against gender-based violence that affects one in three women in South Africa.

Canon Nontombi Naomi Tutu

As the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Canon Naomi has sought to blaze her own trail in the world. The challenges of growing black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of her life as an activist for human rights. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to a program coordinator for race and gender-based violence in education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, Canon Naomi Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford and Brevard College in North Carolina. She also leads workshops on conflict resolution and racism.

Dawn Minott – United Nations Population Fund, Expert on Gender-Based Violence

Dawn Minott is an author, a poet, motivational speaker who has written and published on various issues, preached and made presentations in various churches and forums throughout the Caribbean, Africa and North America. With over 15 years of experience with the United Nations as a social development specialist, Dawn’s work spans the empowerment of women and girls and young people; and, in identifying and managing programs that respond to social, development and health problems that affect society. Her work specializes in addressing gender equality and gender-based violence. When she is not working, Dawn relaxes to music and writes. She loves to travel, volunteer and to work out.

Gail Masondo – Chaplain, International Speaker, Counsellor & Life in Recovery Coach

A New York native, who is best described as a conduit to healing and empowering women. With a background in Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, she has served in the “mission field of life.” As a Recovery Coach Expert, she has addressed social issues including gender-based abuse, and human trafficking. As a Counsellor and Chaplain, Gail has met with leaders of different faiths while mobilizing efforts within the faith community to affect the lives of women and youth. Currently, she chairs SOZO, a non-profit ministry that provides safe spaces for professional women experiencing the initial trauma of physical and emotional abuse.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Princess of Africa and UN Ambassador

Yvonne is an internationally recognized South African singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher. Dubbed the “Princess of Africa” because of the continent wide impact of her music, she is also a champion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria and the United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa. She was chosen by Nelson Mandela as the first ambassador for his children’s fund, and has also established her own charity, The Princess of Africa Foundation, using the name first given to her in Uganda. The Princess of Africa Foundation is a partner of the ACTION global health advocacy partnership. In 2012, she was the first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award. Yvonne is a strong advocate for education of women and girls, and against gender-based violence that affects one in three women in South Africa.

Canon Nontombi Naomi Tutu

As the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Canon Naomi Tutu has sought to blaze her own trail in the world. The challenges of growing black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of her life as an activist for human rights. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to a program coordinator for race and gender-based violence in education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, Canon Naomi Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford and Brevard College in North Carolina. She also leads workshops on conflict resolution and racism.

Dawn Minott – United Nations Population Fund, Expert on Gender-Based Violence

Dawn Minott is an author, a poet, motivational speaker who has written and published on various issues, preached and made presentations in various churches and forums throughout the Caribbean, Africa and North America. With over 15 years of experience with the United Nations as a social development specialist, Dawn’s work spans the empowerment of women and girls and young people; and, in identifying and managing programs that respond to social, development and health problems that affect society. Her work specializes in addressing gender equality and gender-based violence. When she is not working, Dawn relaxes to music and writes. She loves to travel, volunteer and to work out.

Gail Masondo – Chaplain, International Speaker, Counsellor & Life in Recovery Coach

A New York native, who is best described as a conduit to healing and empowering women. With a background in Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, she has served in the “mission field of life.” As a Recovery Coach Expert, she has addressed social issues including gender-based abuse, and human trafficking. As a Counsellor and Chaplain, Gail has met with leaders of different faiths while mobilizing efforts within the faith community to affect the lives of women and youth. Currently, she chairs SOZO, a non-profit ministry that provides safe spaces for professional women experiencing the initial trauma of physical and emotional abuse.

Special Feature

Three Swazi Ambassadors will share their story of victory over tragedy

Hlengiwe Mavuso

Sandra Nomathemba Mtembu

Phindile Mavuso

Tuesday, December 15

12:00 Noon USA EST – 9:00am Pacific Time – 7:00pm South Africa

Register Now

By |2020-12-03T21:53:34+00:00December 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Giving Tuesday: A Race Against Time and Covid

A Race Against Time and COVID

In several weeks, 2020 will be history. So much that is life changing has happened this year!  SOHO fulfilled a decade long dream of acquiring land where we could build safe housing to rear and nurture children at risk of abuse and human trafficking. God has blessed and we have an even greater opportunity than we thought possible with the acquisition of INTSABA farm, a place of hope on a gorgeous mountain side. Then came Covid19!

Many children had no safe place to be because schools have been closed. The newly acquired farm has been feeding hundreds with fresh vegetables transported by the GM and farm staff.

We are grateful for the many lives we have touched but we know there is so much more to be done. This is only a beginning. Real progress will be possible with the completion  of the mile-long road that is under construction.

It is a chilling experience to travel the path the workers and staff used. They call it “the suicide road”. We contracted with a builder on faith to build a road wide enough for vehicles to pass each other comfortably. The road is progressing well but the work is not easy. In some areas, the terrain is rocky and the builder  will ensure that there are no steep angles such as exists with the Suicide road.

The cost of building this road is $60,000. Of that we have raised $40,000. The road must be completed before the heavy rains so the builder is working diligently. When the job is complete, we will need to pay the remaining $20,000and we need your help.

This GIVING TUESDAY, you have a chance to help us establish a path to new life and new opportunity for the orphaned and vulnerable children we serve and for those who will live at INTSABA.

Construction on the new road is under way but we still need your help!

Replace The Suicide Road

Budget: $20,000

The road to INTSABA farm orchards allows farm hands to grow food for children who struggle to survive. It is the road that will allow vehicles to bring materials to build homes for these children . And it is called the Suicide road because it is so dangerous. The cost of building a safe, one-mile road capable of serving all vehicles is $60,000.

We have raised $40,000 and the road needs to be completed before the rains make it impossible.

For Giving Tuesday, our goal is $20,000 to get the job done!

We need your help to serve the children safely.

Children line up to receive produce.

On GIVING TUESDAY,
help us reach our $20,000 goal!

$35 = 1 yard
$70 = 2 yards
$175 = 5 yards
$350 = 10 yards
$3500 = 100 yards

DONATE NOW

By |2020-11-18T19:01:49+00:00November 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

In the Wake of Covid

At the start of the year, most of us had not heard of Covid19. Certainly, it was not part of my lexicon. Today it is one of the most recognized terms globally. Last time I checked, 234,218 people had died from the virus in the US alone and 1,187,734 globally.  For many, these are just disconcerting stats; for those who are affected either through disease or loss, it is a nightmare that seems to have no end.  I thank God that though the plague passed through my household, by a miracle of God’s mercy, my husband, who was given a death sentence is more vibrant, healthier and more alive than he was before he was affected. I am grateful that I, as an unprepared care giver, with not so much as a mask or gloves available at the time, remained untouched by the scourge. For me, it is a testament to the power of prayer.

Intsaba Update

In Eswatini, where SOHO is serving, many don’t have masks, and some share to meet Government regulations. Food shortages have been most keenly felt by children who got what often was a solitary daily meal at school. School was also a safe place, so abuse is  a greater threat than before.

I believe in shining a light rather than cursing the darkness.  SOHO’s  feeding program at Mhlosheni Welcome Place is serving 150 children. They line up in shifts, social distancing, collecting their food and returning to their homesteads to eat.  Close to the center of town in the Nhlambeni area, SOHO has been providing food from INTSABA farm for another 145 children.

Children line up to receive food.

Families at Marekamp seek produce from Intsaba farm.

Phillip Prime has volunteered and supported SOHO from the start.

INTSABA farm is located between two chiefdoms in the Shiselweni region of Eswatini, with more child headed households there than anywhere else in the country. The chiefdom closest to the farm has ten feeding centers. Produce from the farm has fed 200 children from just one of the centers.  The second chief whose territory is larger, has yet to be visited and he has a greater number of feeding centers.

There is so much to be done, but thank God and thank you, our light is shining. We want to do skills training at Mhlosheni, and send more children from Marekamp to Hope Discovery Learning Center when school opens at the beginning of the year.   We need your involvement, your support, to build this Children’s Village at INTSABA.  For starters, the ‘Suicide Road’ is being replaced by a safe new mile-long road for which we have raised $40,000 of the $60,000 to get the full project complete. We’ve engaged the builder on faith so he could get the job done before the heavy rains become a problem. We still need $20,000 to cover that cost when the job is done end of November.

This Giving Tuesday, As you plan your gifts for this last quarter, consider being part of positive change. You may be constrained by Covid19 regarding your work and travel but you can change the world right where you are! It is not the weight of the load that matters, but the number of wiling hands carrying it.

DONATE TODAY

By |2020-11-02T18:51:26+00:00November 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Read the latest
news from SOHO

It is difficult for us in our homes here to imagine what life might be like for others. We think of issues like homelessness and our minds go to shelters, but what of women and children who have no access to shelters? We think of the impact of COVID19 restrictions, but what about children who depend on school for meals as well as education and now have nowhere to turn? May this touch your heart and encourage you to partner with us in changing the future for these children.

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Newsletter Thumbnail
By |2020-09-28T14:26:05+00:00September 28th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Summer 2020 Newsletter

The latest news from SOHO

It is difficult for us in our homes here to imagine what life might be like for others. We think of issues like homelessness and our minds go to shelters, but what of women and children who have no access to shelters? We think of the impact of COVID19 restrictions, but what about children who depend on school for meals as well as education and now have nowhere to turn? May this touch your heart and encourage you to partner with us in changing the future for these children.

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By |2020-07-24T15:26:27+00:00July 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Saving Orphans and my Sanity. Working with SOHO while on the job hunt.

We moved back to the states about two months ago, looking for jobs. Perhaps, and to our surprise, the most interesting/frustrating/complicated adventure yet.

In the meantime, I decided to reach out to a group that I worked with in 2013, Saving Orphans Through Healthcare and Outreach (SOHO).20131129-IMG_6173

I thought, perhaps they have some contacts for me to aid in my job search. Little did I know during that meeting, they had a lot more in store. October 14th was SOHO’s fourth annual awards gala to raise awareness for gender abuse and trafficking in both Indiana and Swaziland, Africa where the organizations focuses it’s work. They needed help with creating visuals for the gala and assorted organizational tasks in preparation. And there I was, on their doorstep with too much time on my hands and a desire to be productive while in job-search limbo. I was ecstatic that they needed me. Let me tell you, there is nothing more discouraging than looking for jobs sometimes. There have been many incidents where I have wondered if getting my master’s degree was even worth it. Emails not responded to, phone calls not returned, no sign of life on the other end of the search at all. I have learned a lot from this experience, but working with SOHO has been integral in not only keeping my sanity, but also introducing me to individuals who have inspired me, motivated me, and shown me there are much bigger needs going on in our world than my sometimes self-pitying state of jobless-ness.

Each year for the past four years, SOHO has honored special guests at the awards gala. This year, there were two honored guests, Gail Masondo an author, motivational speaker, and life recovery coach; and Yvonne Chaka Chaka- the Princess of Africa. I have been told Yvonne is the equivalent to the Angelina Jolie of Africa (I would say she is more like Whitney Houston) a very prominent singer and humanitarian especially during the Apartheid.

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Gail (left) and Yvonne (right) at the Prayer Breakfast

On Monday the 12th we hosted a prayer breakfast at SOHO to prayer over the events for the week and to ask God to help our organization reach those who are abused both at home and in Swaziland. We had various community members, pastors, priests, and a police officer there to tell us about the trafficking situation in Indiana. I was SHOCKED to discover that Indiana has the 5th highest population of trafficked individuals in the country. It was also an emotional time for some individuals who opened up about how they had been abused as children.It is hard to describe the mixed emotions of anger and disgust I felt at hearing this news. My heart burned and ached. The room became immediately smaller and I felt suddenly trapped in its four walls. There is so much pain outside and I feel helpless to do anything about it. Even the strong individuals in front of me have suffered. We all have suffered in some way, I suppose. For me, the difficult thing is not accepting the pain of others, but how to react to it–  how to balance the anger with empathy. In that moment, we just put our hands over each other and prayed.

After the breakfast there was a forum at IUPUI sponsored by the University, the Desmond Tutu Center, SOHO, amongst others. The panel consisted of our two honored guests, Elna Boesak, two IUPUI students, a professor of social work, and a state representative. All had really interesting things to share about their experiences with women’s empowerment, gender abuse, and trafficking.

Christina Hale, the State Rep for District 87 made some really thought-provoking and rather shocking points during her talk about Indiana in regards to issues of gender violence, equality, and activism in INDIANA. She stated:

  • 1 in 6 girls are violated sexually by the time they reach high school
  • There are 33 counties in IN with NO OBGYNs
  • 1 in 5 children suffer from “food insecurity”- I put this in quotes because it is sort of a new term, a buzzword word that refers to economic inequality, food insecurity being a side effect.
  • IN had the lowest voter turnout in the nation in 2014

She encouraged the audience to participate politically. “Hegemonic, old-fashioned mindsets” are making the decisions here and we absolutely have the power to step in and shift the power relations. She talked about her story getting to be a state rep and it actually seems that if more of us were encouraged and became familiar with the process and duties, perhaps we would be more interested in making our voices heard. It was a great talk and encouraged even me, someone who tends to stay away from politics, to become more politically active. Changes need to be made.

Yvonne, reiterated some of her favorite speaking points during this talk as well as the Womens’ Breakfast on the 14th, the day of the gala. (Wo) man is a (well-organized) man. We can REARRANGE the world.

20151013-IMG_354020151013-IMG_3558
Yvonne singing for us at the Womens’ Breakfast.
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Yvonnne, Gail, and the Chicago Con. General of South Africa, Vuyiswa Tulelo.
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Cynthia, Gail, and Yvonne.

Gail, as a motivational speaker, was particularly moving as well. She has a power behind her voice and words that demanded attention.

“We need to mentor our daughters and nurture our sons.”

20151013-IMG_3648
Gail speaking at the Womens’ Breakfast

This statement turned things on its head for me. I began to see gender abuse differently. It is not always about a perpetrator and a victim. It is not black and white. Boys need to be nurtured to become gentlemen and women need to become empowered and educated. There are two sides to the coin as they say, both of which require equal attention.

Apathy is our only enemy. It is the heart of a lot of disengagement of these crucial issues. We have become, around the world, a culture of silence. It is intimidating when you are not deeply embedded in an organization to find a passion or cause to support. What can we do as individuals? Gail’s response: “make yourself a committee of one and do your part.” Choose your cause and move from table talk to action. From personal experience, engagement happens quickly. One day I am in SOHO’s office, only familiar with one face. Within a week I am surrounded by women who inspire and motivate me, involved in an issue of which I was little aware, but to which I now feel intrinsically connected.

On the 14th we hosted the awards gala, once again featuring the honored guests. It was an incredible experience to assist in planning such an impactful event. I am so thankful I was able to be a part of it. There is so much that goes on inside organizations like SOHO to get their programs off the ground. It is easy to become completely embedded in the cause and through the work, the long days, the phone calls, the feeling like you’re running around like a chicken without a head, you become part of a family, a community. This has become everything to me. Volunteering again for SOHO reinvigorated my job search and my desire to join a team that does good work. To be surrounded by people with equal passions and diverse skills, to see our ideas becomes realities– real events, real programs, that save real people.

20151013-IMG_3704Volunteering for SOHO this year, I think I felt more connected to the children in Swaziland– more so than when I actually went to Swaziland in 2013.  It is (somewhat) easy to look into a child’s eyes and feel moved by their hardships. You would certainly have a heart of stone not to. However, its back at home when those eyes start to fade from memory, and the burning passion to save the children begins to dwindle that I realize most of the work is done here. In 2013 I documented the events that took place in Swaziland with a hope to spread awareness of the work SOHO does in Swaziland. This year, I have not stepped foot on Swazi soil, but I have felt more involved in aiding the Swazi people than before. I have been a part of the hard work it takes to raise money, design programs, and build relationships. It is long, long hours some days. It is pain, sometimes. It restarting from scratch and frustration, in some cases. But it is all blessings; what I have learned, the people I now call my friends, and the motivation I have gained to continue to do good work. It may be difficult, I may still not have a job, but I can always do work that means something to someone. And that is all I live for.

Written and photographed by Allison Troutner, SOHO Visual Presentation Volunteer for the 2015 HOPE RISING! Gala

By |2020-07-17T13:49:28+00:00January 14th, 2016|SOHO News|0 Comments
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